I'm back at work, luxuriating in not blogging, and chatting online.
"Did you see the video of the guy that lands the airplane with one wing?" asks a non-pilot. He provides a link, but I'm too lazy to click it.
"The military jet?" I ask. "Those airplanes get so much lift from the fuselage that it's possible to do that." I realize how pretentious that sounds and add, "Not that I wouldn't lose control of an airplane like that with two wings."
(The six minute video documents an F-15 landing after a training accident that separated almost all of one wing).
"No," says the person. "It wasn't a jet. It had a propeller. It was at an airshow."
So them I'm thinking it's probably Kent Pietsch with his detachable aileron stunt. He has a dummy aileron, and a quick release to disconnect it, so it visibly falls of the airplane in flight. He also throws a wheel out of the airplane, and then lands on one wheel, the wheel facing towards the airshow viewers. It's also set up so the announcer is acting as though this airplane is not part of the show but has violated the NOTAMed off airspace due to its emergency. The first time I saw that stunt I got some shocked reactions from other airshow patrons because I was laughing at what they thought was a serious emergency.
Finally I click the link.
The video is shaky airshow spectator footage showing an aircraft doing a low an over. It pulls up, one wing separates, it comes in and out of frame a few times then makes a knife edge approach, weight opposed by the thrust of the propeller and lift generated over the fuselage. I'm thinking, "The pilot is going to survive this!" Theres a moment of blur and then the airplane is on the ground, on the wheels. A member of the ground crew runs up and the video ends.
Whoa! When did this happen? Why have I not heard of it? Who is the pilot? I found more information at AvWeb.
So it was a good fantasy. Fun to imagine having the skill, power, presence of mind and luck to pull that off.